fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "00,000.00" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "James T" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2011 02:45:51 -0000
Subject: Re: Happy New Year
I am Mr James T. . I write you this proposal in good faith. I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit you and me, as the regional manager of one of the biggest Bank in Malaysia, it is my responsibility to send in a financial report to my Head Office in the Capital City Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) at the end of each business year, On the course of 2009 my Branch Business Report, I discovered that my branch in which I am the manager made ($4,600,000.00).
Further more in my private investigation before contacting you I discover that this money belong to a pharmaceutical company which was bankrupted over a decade now and I have immediately placed this fund on what we called Escrow Account, an account without any beneficiary information. Therefore as an official in our bank I can not be directly have access to this money.
So my aim of contacting you is to seek for your partnership to assist me receive this money with your bank account and get 40% of the total fund as commission for your understanding and co-operation. Lastly, it is strictly bank to bank transaction without traveling to any where all I need from you is to stand claim as the depositor and title holder of this money who made the deposit with my branch where am the manager so that our head office can release the money to your bank account.
I will be very grateful if you accept to team up with me to achieve this fund to our possession.
I Assure you we can achieve it successfully
Mr James T.